There’s no doubt about it: budgeting carries stigma. Or, at least the word “budget” does. Seriously, people hear you say budget and literally cringe. I even had a conversation with another finance coach who said she doesn’t even use the word. A finance coach who doesn’t use the word “budget”! That’s how bad the stigma has gotten.
I want to break through the stigma and break the mold. The reality is that the word “budget” isn’t really what’s scary for people—it’s what the word means. To most people, especially those who don’t budget, budgeting means they can’t spend money or enjoy life.
But that’s not true! Do you know what actually dictates your spending? Your current income and your expenses.
Yup, I said it. A budget has nothing to do with you not being able to spend money. Your income, bills, spending, and debt do. Your budget, however, can tell you what’s realistic for you to spend on things you enjoy.
How powerful is that? To me, that knowledge alone makes budget worthwhile. Whether you’re a reformed over-spender, newly on the budget journey, or finally ready to face the music with your money, I’m going to share 5 simple ways to make budgeting a habit for you. It’s worth it, and you’ve got this!
5 Simple Ways to Make Budgeting a Habit
#1 Schedule time on your calendar to budget
The best way to build a habit is to dedicate time to doing it! If you want to make budgeting a habit, you need to prioritize the time to budget. You can do this by plopping some time in your calendar every week, pay period, or month. Seriously. I’m not kidding.
Budgeting is already a habit for me, but I still have a recurring task on my calendar at the end of every month to do my month end money review. I don’t necessarily need the reminder, but it’s always there just in case. Set yourself up for success by blocking out the time you need to get the job done.
Eventually, you won’t need the time blocked off because you’ll know what needs to get done with your budget and when. For now, if you want to make budgeting a habit, make sure you have the time set up.
#2 Find a budgeting system that fits your personality
Some people love to physically write out their budget every pay period. Others prefer to track their numbers in a spreadsheet on a monthly basis. The great thing about budgeting is that it’s not one-size-fits-all.
You can find or create a system that works best for you and your personality. When you have a system that works, you’ll be more inclined to stick with it.
Not sure how to find a budget system that works for you? I suggest first determining which budgeting method you want to use. Once you know how you want your budgeted to be formatted, you can determine if a notebook, a spreadsheet, or an app will be best to help you stick with it.
#3 Make your money dates something to look forward to
I personally love reviewing my money with a lit candle on the table and an iced coffee in my hand. It gets me excited! Budgeting is about spending quality time with myself in an environment that helps me thrive, and that’s critical for making the most of my money.
Put on some relaxing music. Grab a cup of tea or glass of wine. Shut off your notifications. Think of this time as self-care for you and your finances. Self-care is fun, so make financial self-care fun too! Check out How to Enjoy Budgeting Your Money for more ideas.
#4 Reward yourself for budgeting wins
Small treats are a perfect form of recognition for a job well done. If you’ve been consistent with your budgeting routine, do something nice for yourself! If you stuck to your budget for the month, treat yourself to a pedicure!
Rewarding yourself for budgeting wins will help you want to keep budgeting—and not just because you want the treat! When you start seeing those wins with your money, it means bigger results are on the way. Those results are what will keep you motivated to keep pushing through.
#5 Don’t let budgeting mistakes keep you down
If you truly want to be successful with budgeting, not just in building the habit, you’re going to have to learn the art of bouncing back. No one, and I mean no one, is perfect with their budget 100% of the time.
I’m a budget coach, and I’m not 100% perfect! However, I’ve mastered the art of the bounce back—I don’t let budget mistakes keep me down.
What that means is I don’t tell myself stuff like, “Well, I already overspent, so I might as well keep going.” Instead, I pick myself up after the setback and get back on track. The sooner you can learn to do this for yourself, the better off you’ll be when it comes to budgeting for the long haul.
Get back on track after your missteps, give yourself some grace, and know that you’ll be just fine!
Related: How to Conquer Your Fear of Budgeting
With the 5 tips above, you’ll be a consistent budgeter in no time! And before you know it, you’ll actually enjoy the process! Budgeting can be fun, empowering and motivating…if you let it!
I would love to hear what your budgeting story looks like! Drop a comment below to share any tips, experiences, or questions you have around budgeting.